•Husband knelt down in tears, begging dying wife for forgiveness
•’Side chick’ deactivates social media accounts, goes into hiding
•Friends, family react
By Emmanuel Unah & Ike Uchechukwu
The true story has emerged of how a female lawyer in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, Mrs Clara Bassey died in a car crash last Sunday while chasing her husband, Mr Sonnie Bassey in the company of his alleged girlfriend.
Barrister Sonnie Bassey was said to have come from Akwa Ibom State while his wife was from Imo State. There have been different versions of the incident and the identity of the person in the centre of the saga who tipped off the deceased wife prompted her to go after her husband.
According to a family source who begged for anonymity, the late wife had been suspecting the husband for a long time but didn’t know who the girlfriend really was. He told Saturday Vanguard that the relationship between the husband and the girlfriend had been going on for a long time.
A close friend of the husband who did not want his name in print told Saturday Vanguard, “Sonnie and I attended St Patrick’s College. He grew up here in Calabar. He was a car dealer before he became a lawyer. We play chess together. He lived at Barracks Road, near Bogobiri before moving to his present home. He and his wife had been having issues over the girl and when information got to the wife that her husband who said he was travelling out of town was actually in town, she was terribly angry and that was the reason for the hot chase”.
Vanguard learnt that the said girlfriend, who hails from Yakur Local Government Area of the state, who is a single mother was not just a girlfriend but also a brilliant lawyer who had been assisting the husband to write his legal briefs and that they had been dating for a long time.
Last Sunday, the husband was said to have travelled out of town but when he came back he decided to see his girlfriend first before going home and that was when a third party saw them together at the Spar Supermarket and called the wife to tip her off. The late wife reportedly waited for them at the Stadium very close to the Supermarket in a Toyota Highlander and when she sighted her husband and his girlfriend driving past in a Mercedes Benz car, she pursued them.
About a kilometre away from point of taking off, at the New Secretariat, the husband on top speed veered off the highway and headed towards Atekong Drive and the wife in an effort to follow the husband on the same route lost control and rammed into one of the ornamental trees by the roadside completely wrecking the car and sustaining mortal wounds in the process.
From his rear mirror, the husband saw what happened, stopped the car asked his girlfriend to alight from the car and went back to attempt to rescue his wife. Other road users joined in the rescue and she was taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, about a kilometre away, still on the same route for medical attention.
A family source at the hospital said before the wife gave up the ghost, Mr Sonnie was remorseful and with tears in his eyes, he knelt beside his dying wife begging the lifeless body for forgiveness and urging her to come back to life and take care of their three children.
According to the source, “it was at the hospital that the man wailed seriously begging the wife to forgive him, while professing all his love for her, asking her to wake up. The woman who made the call to the deceased wife that her husband was with his girlfriend was actually at the hospital when she was pronounced dead. But the family members didn’t realise this at the time until they checked the deceased’s phone and discovered that the woman who had been with them all along in the hospital was the one communicating with the deceased.
“All that said, I can tell you that the husband loved the wife and never joked with his family, he is very passionate about them, and did everything that a father and husband should do. The stories and so many versions you have been reading are mostly false. Just a few days ago he was said to be in a coma, some said that he was dead, but all were pure falsehood.
“It is natural for someone in his shoes to feel sober, withdrawn from people when bereaved but I can also tell you that he might be feeling all that, but he is definitely not in any dangerous situation at the moment.
“The single mum who was his ‘side chick’, and has now deactivated her social media accounts was not the cause of the accident and the death of the victim, the lady who tipped off the deceased is the real killer. As a matter of fact, she was also at the hospital when the victim was pronounced dead. When I realized that she was the one who was responsible for sending the victim to her early death, I felt like beating her, but it was late by that time we realized it.
“The husband might be in a sober mood but there is no serious health issue arising from the incident that I’m aware of. He is a great father, husband and hardworking man, but was just a victim of circumstance,” the source said.
Another friend of the family who also pleaded anonymity told Saturday Vanguard that what happened was just unfortunate because the husband was a gentleman to the core.
“He was indeed hospitalised but we hope he gets better soon, he battled with stroke some time ago, he is just recovering and coupled with what happened again, he is only human, they should stop peddling death rumour and remember his kids in the mix. The relationship with his late wife started as far back as 2004 or thereabout and it ended in marriage with three kids, it’s rather sad that this kind of thing happened to him because both of them were inseparable love birds, he was always with her all the time.
“The children are currently being taken care of by a family friend, all we are doing is praying for him to be strong, the deed has already been done, and people should allow the family to mourn in peace. This kind of thing that happened to him could have happened to anybody.
“There are cases of divorce that he even refunded money to female clients while preaching peace because he doesn’t believe in separation or divorce, he is just a gentleman people should consider his children and stop judging him”, the source stated.
A friend of late Clara, Mrs Ann told Vanguard that the man should be held responsible for the death of his wife because of his action. “The man refused to take his children back to school that day on the pretext that he was travelling out of town for business but the trip was to keep a date with a ‘side chick’. Which woman would hear that and not be infuriated?”
Another lady, Oge Okafor in her reaction blamed the deceased for her action which she described as “thoughtless”. She said, “was it the best thing for her to run after her husband and his girlfriend? No now. Let us assume she caught up with them and exchanged words or fought them, would that have stopped the man from going out? Omo there are many ways to kill a rat, abeg”.
The family of the deceased could not be located but the home of the couple was under lock and key when we visited.